It was seven years ago that we first heard about the motion detector-equipped Smartrod, which sounds an alarm when a fish hits the lure. Well, its inventor is now back on our radar, with a spinning reel that alerts anglers via their smartphone.
Known as the Smart Connect, the new reel is the creation of Kansas-based fisherman Ed Hope. It's being marketed through his company, Tackobox, and reportedly works with any rod. The idea is that users will utilize it to cast their lure out into the water, after which they'll leave their gear sitting on its own as they wait for a strike.
As far as basic specs go, the reel features an aluminum spool, a lightweight composite body, a five-bearing anti-reverse mechanism, and a 4.7:1 gear ratio. It also, however, has a detachable rear module that contains a sensor which detects telltale fish-bite vibrations in the rod. That module additionally houses a Bluetooth unit and a USB-rechargeable battery – one charge should be good for a claimed 40 hours of use.
When a fish strikes, the Smart Connect reel responds by transmitting a Bluetooth signal to the user's Apple or Android smartphone. A free app on that phone alerts them through their choice of an audible alarm, a flashing onscreen display, or by vibrating. That app also lets users record the GPS coordinates of catches, plus it can be paired with Bluetooth LED lighting products such as a camp lantern, which will brighten to let users know that a fish is on the line.
A single phone can monitor up to four Smart Connect reels at a time.
The reel's Bluetooth unit is automatically switched off once the line starts getting reeled in, to keep from providing unwanted extra alerts caused by the movement of the fish as it's being landed. Once the fish has been landed, though, pressing a button on the reel powers it up again.
The introductory Tackobox Gold Series Smart Connect reel is now available at North American Walmart stores, and via the company website. It's priced at US$119.
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